How To Remove Explorer.exe Virus (2022 Guide)

Explorer.exe (“Windows Explorer”) from Microsoft is a safe and essential part of the Windows operating system, however, cybercriminals create malware such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately giving their processes the same file name to escape detection.

If your computer is very slow and there are multiple instances of Explorer.exe, dllhost.exe or cmmon32.exe process running in Windows Task Manager, then your computer is infected with malware. Most often the users who are infected with malware will see these Explorer.exe processes running at Windows start-up (usually more than 6 background processes), and while using the computer they will experience very high CPU usage.

Explorer.exe Virus

There are numerous virus hoaxes that claim that Explorer.exe is malware and should be removed to prevent damage to the system; these are false, such as removing Explorer.exe or killing the Explorer.exe process will result in a Blue Screen of Death.

In addition, technical support scammers pretending to be Microsoft representatives are known to use Explorer.exe as “proof” of a virus infection and convince the user being scammed into purchasing their rogue security software to remove it.

How does the Explorer.exe malware behave?

Due to the generic nature of this infection, methods of installation may vary. The Explorer.exe infections may often install themselves by copying their executable to the Windows or Windows system folders, and then modifying the registry to run this file at each system start. Explorer.exe will often modify the following subkey in order to accomplish this:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

If your computer is infected with the Explorer.exe virus, this infection may contact a remote host for the following purposes:

  • To report a new infection to its author
  • To receive configuration or other data
  • To download and execute arbitrary files (including updates or additional malware)
  • To receive instruction from a remote attacker
  • To upload data taken from the affected computer

How do I know if Explorer.exe is malicious or not?

Because Explorer.exe is a common process in the Task Manager, malware programs sometimes mask themselves by running under the same process name of Explorer.exe. Other times, a malware program may run or inject, its service into an already running Explorer.exe process. In either case, this masking action can make it difficult to detect and remove these malware programs.
The easiest way to see if your computer is infected with malware running under the “Explorer.exe” name, is to open your Windows Task Manager by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL on your keyboard, the right-click on the Explorer.exe which you suspect is malware, and then click on “Open file location

The legitimate Explorer.exe from Windows (digitally signed by Microsoft) should be located in the C:\Windows folder. Any file named “Explorer.exe” located in another folder or without a signature can be considered malware.

Files reported as Explorer.exe malware may not necessarily be malicious. Should you be uncertain as to whether a file is malicious or a false positive detection, you can submit the affected file to https://www.virustotal.com/en/ to be scanned with multiple antivirus engines.

To remove the Explorer.exe Trojan and check your computer for other malicious programs, please use the free malware removal guide below.

Removal Instructions for Explorer.exe Trojan

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the number of steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy-to-understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, stop and ask for our assistance.
To remove Explorer.exe Trojan from Windows, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Uninstall malicious programs from Windows

In this first step, we will manually check if any unknown or malicious programs are installed on the computer. Sometimes Trojan Miners can have a usable Uninstall entry that can be used to remove them.

Windows 11Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7
  1. Open Windows Settings.

    First, open Windows Settings by pressing Windows+I on your keyboard. You can also right-click your Start button and select “Settings” from the list.
    Windows 11 Open Settings

  2. Click on “Apps”, then select “Apps and Features“.

    When Settings opens, click “Apps” in the sidebar, then select “Apps & Features”.

    Windows 11 Apps and Feature

  3. Search for malicious programs and uninstall them.

    In Apps & Features settings, scroll down to the app list and search for unknown or suspicious programs. To make things easier, you can sort all installed programs by their installation date. To do this, click “Sort by” and select “Install date”.
    Look out for any suspicious program that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. When you find a malicious program, click the three dots button beside it and select “Uninstall” in the menu that appears.

    If you are having issues while trying to uninstall a program, you can use Revo Uninstaller to completely remove it from your computer.

    Windows 11 Uninstall malicious program

    If you cannot find any malicious programs on your computer, you can continue with the second step from this guide.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall program.

    In the next message box, confirm the uninstall process by clicking on Uninstall, then follow the prompts to uninstall the malicious program.
    Make sure to read all of the prompts carefully, because some malicious programs try to sneak things in hoping that you won’t read them closely.

    Windows 11 Confirm Uninstall

  1. Open the “Settings” menu.

    Click the Start button on the taskbar, then select “Settings” (gear icon).
    Windows 10: Click the Start button then click on Settings

  2. Click on “Apps”, then on “Apps and Features”.

    When the “Windows Settings” window opens, click on “Apps“. By default, it should open “Apps and Features” but if it doesn’t, select it from the list on the left.

    Windows 10: Click on Apps

  3. Search for malicious programs and uninstall them.

    In Apps & Features settings, scroll down to the app list and search for unknown or suspicious programs. To make things easier, you can sort all installed programs by their installation date. To do this, click “Sort by” and select “Install date”.
    Look out for any suspicious program that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. When you find a malicious program, click the three dots button beside it and select “Uninstall” in the menu that appears.

    Windows 10: Uninstall malware from Windows

    If you cannot find any malicious programs on your computer, you can continue with the second step from this guide.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall malicious program.

    In the next message box, confirm the uninstall process by clicking on Uninstall, then follow the prompts to uninstall the malicious program.
    Make sure to read all of the prompts carefully, because some malicious programs try to sneak things in hoping that you won’t read closely.
    Windows 10: Complete the uninstall process

  1. Go to “Program and Features”.

    Right-click on the Start button in the taskbar, then select “Programs and Features”. This will take you directly to your list of installed programs.
    Right click on Start and select Programs and Features

  2. Search for malicious program and uninstall it.

    The “Programs and Features” screen will be displayed with a list of all the programs installed on your computer. Scroll through the list until you find any unknown or suspicious program, then click to highlight it, then click the “Uninstall” button.

    Look out for any suspicious program that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. If you cannot find any malicious programs on your computer, you can continue with the second step from this guide.

    Select malicious program then click on Uninstall

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall malicious program.

    In the next message box, confirm the uninstall process by clicking on Yes, then follow the prompts to uninstall malicious program. Make sure to read all of the prompts carefully, because some malicious programs try to sneak things in hoping that you won’t read closely.

  1. Open the “Control Panel”.

    Click on the “Start” button, then click on “Control Panel“.
    Windows 7 go to Control Panel

  2. Click on “Uninstall a Program”.

    When the “Control Panel” appears, click on “Uninstall a Program” from the Programs category.
    Select Uninstall malicious program from Control Panel

  3. Search for malicious programs and uninstall them.

    The “Programs and Features” screen will be displayed with a list of all the programs installed on your computer. Scroll through the list until you find any suspicious or unknown program, then click to highlight it, then click the “Uninstall” button.

    The malicious program may have a different name on your computer. Look out for any suspicious program that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine program. If you cannot find any malicious programs on your computer, you can continue with the second step from this guide.

    Uninstall malware from Windows 7

  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall malcious program.

    In the next message box, confirm the uninstall process by clicking on Yes, then follow the prompts to uninstall malicious program. Make sure to read all of the prompts carefully, because some malicious programs try to sneak things in hoping that you won’t read closely.

Now that we’ve removed the malicious programs from your computer, in the next step we will scan it for any infections, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that may be present on your device.


STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to remove Explorer.exe Trojan

In this second step, we will download, install and run a scan with Malwarebytes to remove Trojans, malicious extensions, adware, and other malware that may be responsible for the Explorer.exe redirect.

Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Windows.

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR WINDOWS DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the MBSetup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on MBSetup installer to install Malwarebytes
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the Malwarebytes installation.
    Windows asking for permission to run the Malwarebytes installer

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes setup wizard which will guide you through the installation process. The Malwarebytes installer will first ask you on what type of computer are you installing this program, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Malwarebytes setup: Click on Personal Computer step 1

    On the next screen, click “Install” to install Malwarebytes on your computer.
    Malwarebytes Setup: Click on Install

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen. Click the “Get started” button.

  4. Click on “Scan”.

    To scan your computer with Malwarebytes, click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for Trojans and other malicious programs.
    Click on Scan button for malware

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will scan your computer for the Explorer.exe Trojan and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning for Explorer.exe virus

  6. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the Trojans and other malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.
    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  7. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes requesting to restart computer to complete the removal process
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.


STEP 3: Use HitmanPro to scan your computer for Explorer.exe Trojan and other malware

In this next step, we will scan your computer with HitmanPro to ensure that no other malicious programs (Trojans, adware, or browser hijackers) are installed on your PC or browser.

HitmanPro is a second opinion scanner that takes a unique cloud-based approach to malware scanning. HitmanPro scans the behavior of active files and also files in locations where malware normally resides for suspicious activity. If it finds a suspicious file that’s not already known, HitmanPro sends it to its clouds to be scanned by two of the best antivirus engines today, which are Bitdefender and Kaspersky.

Although HitmanPro is shareware and costs $24.95 for 1 year on 1 PC, there is actually no limit in scanning. The limitation only kicks in when there is a need to remove or quarantine detected malware by HitmanPro on your system and by then, you can activate the one time 30-days trial to enable the cleanup.

  1. Download HitmanPro.

    You can download HitmanPro by clicking the link below.

    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download HitmanPro)
  2. Install HitmanPro.

    When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on “hitmanpro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “hitmanpro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows) to install this program on your PC. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
    Double-click on the HitmanPro setup file - Help Guide
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Windows asking for permissions to run the HitmanPro setup file - Help Guide

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts.

    When HitmanPro starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Click on the “Next” button to perform a system scan.

    Click Next to install HitmanPro

    HitmanPro final installer screen

  4. Wait for the HitmanPro scan to complete.

    HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for the Explorer.exe Trojan and other malicious programs.
    HitmanPro while scanning for Explorer.exe malware

  5. Click on “Next”.

    When HitmanPro has finished the scan, it will display a list of all the malware that the program has found. Click on the “Next” button to remove the malware that it has found.
    HitmanPro scan summary. Click Next to remove malware

  6. Click on “Activate free license”.

    Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial and remove all the malicious files from your PC.
    Activate the free HitmanPro license keyEnter your email to complete the HitmanPro activation - Help Guide


STEP 4: Use AdwCleaner to remove malicious browser policies

In this fourth step, we will use AdwCleaner to remove the malicious browser policies that were set by malware on your computer and delete malicious browser extensions.

AdwCleaner is a free popular on-demand scanner that can detect and remove malware that even the most well-known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to find. This on-demand scanner includes a lot of tools that can be used to fix the side effects of malware.

  1. Download AdwCleaner.

    You can download AdwCleaner by clicking the link below.

    ADWCLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download AdwCleaner)
  2. Double-click on the setup file.

    Double-click on the file named “adwcleaner_x.x.x.exe” to start AdwCleaner. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
    AdwCleaner Setup File
    You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this file. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    AdwCleaner and Windows User Account Control Pop-up

  3. Enable “Reset Chrome policies” to remove browser policies.

    When AdwCleaner starts, on the left side of the window, click on “Settings” and then enable “Reset Chrome policies“.
    Enable Reset Chrome policies to remove malware

  4. Click on “Scan Now”.

    On the left side of the window, click on “Dashboard” and then click “Scan Now” to perform a system scan.
    AdwCleaner Scan Now button

  5. Wait for the AdwCleaner scan to complete.

    AdwCleaner will now scan your computer for the Explorer.exe Trojan and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes.
    AdwCleaner Scanning for Explorer.exe Trojan and other malicious programs

  6. Click on “Clean & Repair”.

    When AdwCleaner has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found. Click on the “Clean & Repair” button to remove the Explorer.exe Trojan and other malicious programs from your computer.
    Click Clean to remove Explorer.exe Trojan

  7. Click on “Clean & Restart Now”

    When the malware removal process is complete, AdwCleaner may need to restart your device. Click on the “Clean & Restart Now” button to finish the removal process.
    Click Clean & Restart Now to remove viruses

    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close AdwCleaner and continue with the rest of the next step from this guide.


STEP 5: Remove malware from your browser

In this final step, we will reset your browser settings back to their default settings to remove malicious browser extensions, spam notifications, and unwanted search engines.
Please note that this method will remove all extensions, toolbars, and other customizations but will leave your bookmarks and favorites intact. For each browser that you have installed on your computer, please click on the browsers tab below and follow the displayed steps to reset that browser.

ChromeFirefoxMicrosoft EdgeInternet Explorer
Remove Explorer.exe Trojan from Chrome for Windows

To remove Explorer.exe Chrome for Windows, we will reset the browser settings to their original defaults. This will reset your startup page, new tab page, search engine, and pinned tabs. It will also disable all extensions and clear temporary data like cookies. Your favorites, history, and saved passwords will not be cleared.

  1. Click the three dots in the top-right corner and then click on “Settings”.

    Open Chrome and click on the menu button (represented by three vertical dots) in the window’s top right corner. In the dropdown menu that opens, click “Settings“.
    Click on the Chrome menu button then on the Settings button

  2. Click “Advanced”.

    Chrome’s “Settings” should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. In the left sidebar, click on the “Advanced” link.
    Click on the Advanced link

  3. Click “Reset and clean up”.

    In the left sidebar, under the “Advanced” section, click on “Reset and clean up“.
    Click Reset and clean up button

  4. Click “Reset settings to their original defaults”.

    In the main window, the “Reset and clean up” section is visible, as shown in the screenshot below. Click on “Reset settings to their original defaults“.
    Click on Reset settings to their original defaults

  5. Click “Reset settings”.

    A confirmation dialog will now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the “Reset settings” button.
    Click on Reset Settings to restore Google Chrome to its default settings

Remove Explorer.exe Trojan from Firefox for Windows

To remove the Explorer.exe Trojan from Firefox we will reset the browser settings to its default. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history, and open tabs.

  1. Click the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner and then click on “Help”.

    Click on Firefox’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Help“.
    Click on the Firefox Menu button then select Help button

  2. Click “More troubleshooting information”.

    From the Help menu, click on “More troubleshooting information“.
    Click More Troubleshooting Information

  3. Click on “Refresh Firefox”

    When the “Troubleshooting Information” page opens, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button.
    Click on Refresh Firefox

  4. Confirm that you want to reset your browser settings.

    To finish the reset process, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    Click again on Refresh Firefox button

  5. Click “Finish”.

    Firefox will now close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on “Finish“.

    Your old Firefox profile will be placed on your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data“. If the reset didn’t fix your problem you can restore some of the information not saved by copying files to the new profile that was created. If you don’t need this folder any longer, you should delete it as it contains sensitive information.

Remove Explorer.exe Trojan from Microsoft Edge

To remove the Explorer.exe Trojan from Microsoft Edge we will reset the browser settings to their default. This will reset your startup page, new tab page, search engine, and pinned tabs. It will also disable all extensions and clear temporary data like cookies. Your favorites, history, and saved passwords will not be cleared.

  1. Click the three dots in the top-right corner and then click on “Settings”.

    In the top right corner, click on Microsoft Edge’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal dots. When the drop-down menu appears, click on “Settings“.
    Click the three dots in the top-right corner and then click on Settings

  2. Click on “Reset Settings”.

    On the left side of the window, click on “Reset Settings“.
    Click Reset Settings option

  3. Click on “Restore settings to their default values”.

    In the main window, click on “Restore settings to their default values“.
    Select Restore settings to their default values

  4. Click “Reset”.

    A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the “Reset” button.
    Click Reset to reset your browser
    Microsoft Edge will now erase all your personal data, browsing history, and disable all installed extensions. Your bookmarks, though, will remain intact and still be accessible.

Remove Explorer.exe Trojan from Internet Explorer

To remove the Explorer.exe Trojan from Internet Explorer we will reset the browser settings to its default. You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your computer.

  1. Go to “Internet Options”.

    Open Internet Explorer, click on the gear icon in the upper-right part of your browser, then select “Internet Options“.

  2. Select the “Advanced” tab, then click “Reset”

    In the “Internet Options” dialog box, select the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.

  3. Click on “Reset”.

    In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” checkbox, then click on the “Reset” button.

  4. Click on “Close”.

    When Internet Explorer has completed its task, click on the “Close” button in the confirmation dialogue box.
    Close your browser and then you can open Internet Explorer again.


Your computer should now be free of the Explorer.exe Trojan. If your current antivirus allowed this malicious program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing Malwarebytes Premium to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

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